PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will no longer be sending samples to the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad for COVID-19 and other pathogens as the Khyber Medical University (KMU) is set to start a similar investigation in the next few weeks, according to Prof Dr Ziaul Haq, vice-chancellor KMU.
“Inshaa Allah, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will have its first sequencing facility to tell exact variant (current or any new ones) of Covid19 or any other pathogen. We had already placed orders for procurement of the sequencing equipment and are likely to start the investigations in the next three weeks,” Prof Ziaul Haq told The News.
The government has to send Covid samples to the NIH, Islamabad for sequencing of the virus.
He said that in the meantime they had secured a kit for sequencing to determine variants of the virus.
“Out of all 15 samples run today, 12 were detected of UK variants, one each of UK and South African, while three samples had no amplifications (potential delta or sequencing needed),” he said. According to Prof Ziaul Haq, sequencer in hand would enable them to identify a Pak variant, which they assume to be not too lethal due to low mortality in the region.
He said it would be the first sequencer in the province, both in the public and private sectors.
KMU is the lone medical university in the province and has the best available qualified faculty members. During the corona pandemic, KMU took the lead by starting corona investigations in 2020 as the samples used to be sent to the NIH.
It would be more useful for the people of the province and nearby places if KMU established its own laboratories in various parts of the province, particularly the district headquarters of KP, and provide quality of investigations by utilising the trained staff and modern equipment.
It would be a great service to the people as well as generating revenue for the university.